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tv   U.S. Senate 12012017  CSPAN  December 1, 2017 3:34pm-5:35pm EST

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wouldn't it be nice to have some testimony from experts across this country who live and breathe the work of being advocates for children, who study every bill to determine whether it impacts on children. wouldn't it be nice to have their testimony, maybe just on the child tax credit, maybe just on the child and dependent care tax credit, which is the only provision in law right now -- the only tax proiftion in law that -- provision that helps people pay for child care. ask any family what's your number one concern other than making ends meet and paying for higher education, but other than a few priorities like that, their number one concern is how to pay for child care, but there's no testimony on that issue that relates to the bill -- no testimony at all because there were no hearings
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on the bill. how can you have a child impact statement and generalize about it without a hearing? and, of course, we need more than generalizations. we need specifics. so i think we have to ask those questions and be focused on children in a very specific way. here's the last thing i'll say. this opportunity to come together in a bipartisan fashion, which is not -- has not happened in this case, but we had the opportunity, and the majority could have taken a different path. they could have said to us months ago, let's have a bipartisan process, let's not move to a pathway that only requires 51 votes. let's have a real bipartisan process on tax reform like they did in the mid-1980's, resolving the 1986 bill, right? they could have said we have a
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bipartisan concern about children. we like the child independent cared tax credit and the earned income tax credit. they are all good policies. we want to make them better. we want to have a bipartisan effort to infuse those policies with more funding, more help to make them more robust for our children, but that never happened. so, once again, because of what the majority did, the pathway they selected to passing their bill with only republican votes -- and that was their choice -- we will have a tax bill that won't have a child impact statement, won't have hearings about the impact on children and families. it won't have any of that. it will once again prove that washington, d.c., never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity especially as it relates to children and families and that is particularly insulting to the american people
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and regrettable because we have a moment here where we're trying to do tax reform, and because it's not bipartisan, because there aren't hearings on the bill, the impact on children will never, ever be fully assessed and that is not just a tragedy, but that's a real insult to our families and to our children. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. president, how much time is remaining on the majority side? the presiding officer: ten and a half minutes. mr. toomey: thank you. i will be brief. let me respond briefly to my colleague from my state of pennsylvania. our bill increases the child tax credit. our bill lowers the tax burden on every category of income earners, including working families, middle-income families, every category.
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as my colleague from colorado demonstrated kindly, he showed in the chart, that the biggest proportional savings go to the lower-income families, and the pro-growth policy is going to create more job opportunities and higher wages. so let's see. more money in child tax credit, less taxes owed on the part of families, and more job opportunities and higher wages. i think it's a pretty safe bet that is good for kids. i think it is a pretty safe bet that when families make more money it's good for the kids. i think most of my constituents would probably agree with that. we heard folks on the other side suggest that we are not cutting taxes on the middle class. we have enough areas where we disagree without making things up. they like to redistribute wealth, we focus on growing the economy, we want to grow
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government. we've got honest differences and priorities, so i wish we would focus on where there are actual differences and the facts in question, but there is no question that we're lowering taxes on middle-class families because we're lowering taxes on every category. now, the people who will are watching on c-span and people listening in the gallery must get frustrated and ask themselves, who can we believe? one side says we are lower taxes for working families and the other side says, it's higher taxes. i have a suggestion. i know there's a solution. you could look it up at joint tax, but that's tedious and then you would see the table, because it is unambiguous that taxes go down in every category. but you know the people who will know for sure what the answer is, it will come in january with the withholding in their
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paycheck changes and when their take-home pay goes up because the taxes they owe go down. when this passes and gets signed into law, the proof will be very clear and people will see it. a quick word about the repeal of the individual mandate. my friend and colleague from oregon described it -- i'm paraphrasing -- that he described the repeal of the individual mandate as driving a stake through the heart of obamacare, something equivalent to that. and i couldn't help but think what an incredibly damning indictment of obamacare. think about what that means. think about what they are saying. if repealing the individual mandate drives a stake through the heart of obamacare. the individual mandate is the provision is that says you have to buy this whether you want it or in the. you have to. you're forced to. the government dictates the terms, the government effectively dictates prices, and
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you must buy it and if you don't you will get hit with a tax penalty. we eliminate the tax penalty and that will be very helpful for low-and middle-income families. in pennsylvania 80% of all the people who get hit with the individual mandate tax live in a household with an income of $50,000 or less. that's who is paying this. what i wanted to stress is what a damning indictment it is of obamacare that it only works according to its pro -- according to its proponents it only works if people are forced to buy the products. it's so badly designed, it's so terrible that people won't buy it voluntarily despite huge subsidies. we don't change the subsidies. they are all available to the people who want to participate. we don't change the rules. we don't change eligibility. we don't change anything but within thing. we say if you decide this plan doesn't fit your families or if
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you decide for all the subsidies you get it's still not worth it for you to have this plan and so you opt-out, you will no longer be punished with this tax. that's the only thing we do in this bill. and since we eliminate that coercion that forces people to buy it, our colleagues on the other side say that drives a stake through the heart of obamacare. it seems to me that a product or a service that people have to be forced to buy and that is killed if they are not forced to buy it probably isn't a great deal for those people, and i think we just got that admission. with that, i will yield to my colleague from south carolina. mr. scott: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. scott: i will say, mr. president, that my colleague from pennsylvania did such a good job that there's so little left to say. i was fumbling because i was
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just confused on what i will say and i'll be honest, there's not much to say. if i would reinforce a couple of points that the senator did not cover was in our last finance committee hearing that lasted 20 hours. we had our friends on the other side offer 63 amendments. to say that they are not engaged in the process is to forget the 63 amendments offered over 23 hours. senator toomey, you did such a good job, i'm going to sit back down. mr. toomey: senator, you and i and the senator from pennsylvania were all there when we called the markup. mr. scott: we were. mr. toomey: my recollection is like yours. and, frankly, my recollection when it comes to all the work that gets us to where we are dates back a ways. i was on the senate finance
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committee in 12011. i'm not -- 2011. i'm not sure when the senator from south carolina or pennsylvania joined, but shortly after. but since i have been in the finance committee, we have had 70 different hearings. we even went so far two years ago in 2015 to create 25 working groups along with, i might add, our democratic colleagues. each of whom had a key role in the final recommendations that were put forward. a lot of what is in this bill is based upon the work done in those working groups. there isn't a single shred of the tax code that we haven't studied in great detail. as the senator from south carolina pointed out, when it came time to mark the bill up, we spent 23 hours listening to each other, and in some cases argument ewing, the democrats --
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arguing, the democrats offered 63 amendments all of which got votes in the senate finance committee. for anybody to suggest this is anything but a transparent process based on years of work and buildup and leadup to get us where we are today is absolutely misstating the facts. i think the work we have done in advance of this has led to a product that is the culmination of a great deal of thought, a great deal of input, a great deal of research from not only experts in the field but fellow members, democrats and republicans senators and staff who have gotten us to where we are today. i think the fact that as has been pointed out many times that family that is living paycheck to paycheck that will now get the benefit of a doubling of the standard deduction, a doubling of the child tax credit, which frankly, i happen to believe contrary to my colleague from pennsylvania is a pretty big deal. if you're a family who has any
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sort of tax liability, that tax credit is a dollar for dollar credit against that tax liability. and a portion of that, an increased portion is refundable under this legislation. and so -- and if you took it at the lower rates we have in the bill, that middle income family in this country stands to benefit significantly as a result of this to the tune, if you're a family with a combined annual income, family of four where combineddage income of $73,000, an additional $2,200 in your pocket. that's $2,200 in the american family's pocket that they get to decide how to spend. the real truth of this as the senator from pennsylvania pointed out, don't take our word for t. you can sit down if you'd like to and look at the features of the bill. look at your individual tax situation, plug in these changes. and i think you'll find you're going to see a pretty significant reduction in your tax liability. but when january rolls around when this passes and people get their check and they look at
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what they're withholding and they realize that they are -- they have a lot more money, that paycheck is bigger, the paycheck is going to be bigger. why? because the amount taken out in terms of federal taxes is going to be significantly smaller. and that's a good thing for the american family. and that's why this debate ndz the bill that we have -- debate and the bill that we have before us is so important, not only for those families who are trying to build a stronger and brighter and more prosperous future for them and their families but also for this american economy which with the other changes that are made in the bill is going to lead to better-paying jobs and higher wages that are going to lift the boats of all americans. americans haven't had a pay raise literally in about the past decade. we haven't had a single year in the obama years of 3% growth which has been the historical average going back to the end of world war ii. we're growing at 1.5% to 2%. we think we can do a lot better. that shouldn't be the new nomplal. the american -- normal.
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the american economy is the greatest on the face of the earth. we should be growing at 3%. if we're growing at that rate, that average middle-income family in this country is not only going to get a big tax cut which means they're getting to have a bigger paycheck and more money in their pocket, they're also going to get the benefits of the higher wages with a growing, dynamic economy that more reflects of what we have see seen in terms of the norms in our history. i yield the floor. mr. wyden: just briefly i will respond to the senator from pennsylvania who is baffled by why we're so opposed to the health provisions in the bill, the congressional budget office says that the majority's provisions will cost 13 million people to lose coverage, premiums to go up 10% and this morning's paper makes the point that it will bring back junk insurance which once again will allow discrimination against people with preexisting conditions. now, to use the last 30 seconds that i have, we await the majority leader to see once again if the american people and
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the congress are actually going to find out some information about what is being offered. but i just would like to close mby pointing out another double standard. it sure looks like lobbyists on k street on more and better information about what is about to be offered than do democrats in the united states senate. so what we are talking about, we've seen one double standard after another. the tax breaks for the middle class, temporary -- a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. toomey: mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: i'd ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: is there objection? the objection is heard. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. scott: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from from south carolina. mr. scott: i ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. scott: thank you. i ask unanimous consent that -- the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina is recognized. mr. scott: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that there now be 30 minutes equally divided for debate only with no amendments or motions in order and with the majority leader being recognized at the conclusion of that time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: mr. president, so here we are now at 4:15.
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we still have not seen this bill. $10 trillion bill, biggest tax bill in more than three decades, with changes involving billions and billions of dollars made partially overnight -- apparently overnight. i have a made it clear that when the leader comes back down, senator mcconnell, we expect to see this bill. we were told essentially an hour ago that we would see this in a matter of minutes. the american people have a right to know that even though the majority wants to make $10 trillion worth of tax policy changes on the fly, this side of the aisle is going to insist on knowing what is in the bill. so my colleague from minnesota has been very patient, and i want him to be recognized on our time now. mr. franken: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota is recognized. mr. franken: thank you,
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mr. president. i rise today in -- this evening in opposition to the tax bill before us today. i think that the problem in our country isn't that wealthy people in this country aren't wealthy enough. the problem is that the wealth gap has grown to the highest levels in my lifetime. this bill would make that wealth gap even bigger. senator paul wellstone often said we all do better when we all do better. he knew the economy does better when there is a strong middle class, when working families have more money to spend. unfortunately, the republican tax bill does the opposite of what paul wellstone argued for. instead of helping working families, it raises taxes on at least 14 million of them. and it uses this revenue to give
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$1 trillion to the super rich all while adding $1.5 trillion to our national debt. this is at its core an awful bill. when president trump took office, he pledged that he would look out for the forgotten men and women, not the wealthy. this bill is a betrayal of that commitment. i believe congress should work on a bipartisan basis to make our tax code fairer and simpler for working families, and that's what i've advocated for since i joined the senate. and democrats have made a good-faith effort to work in a bipartisan manner on the tax reform bill with republicans, but republicans have chosen from the very start of this congress to make -- to take a purely partisan approach that has left
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democrats entirely out of the discussion. we all know that this bill is being rushed through congress so that republicans can claim a legislative achievement by the end of the year. that's not the way you get a fairer, simpler tax code. you get a fairer, simpler tax code by having hearings with outside witnesses. you get a fairer, simpler tax code by giving americans an opportunity to weigh in as it's being drafted. and to review the bill and share their views. and you get a simpler, fairer tax code by doing it in a bipartisan manner, not by excluding democrats entirely from the drafting of the bill. the fast-track process republicans are using is just like the republicans' equally partisan, equally secretive and
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equally rushed attempt to repeal and replace obamacare earlier this year. americans deserve better. in their effort to get this bill through before americans realize just how damaging it is, many republicans have made some misleading claims about it. for example, republicans often cite the fact that the bill would double the standard deduction that families can claim on their tax return. that's true. but they always seem to leave out the fact, the very important fact that their bill would also eliminate the personal exemption, the personal exemption is about $4,000 for each family member. so when compared to the $12,000 increase in the standard deduction, it means that households with two parents and more than one child would be worse off under the republican tax bill than under current law. for example, with two children.
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sometimes they argue that doubling the tax, the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 would offset the loss of the personal exemption. but under their plan, families who most need the help would get hardly anything from the increase in the child tax credit, which is not refundable. so, for instance, a family living off a minimum-wage earner would benefit only about 75 more dollars under this bill's revised child tax credit, not the full $1,000 some republicans promise. but the republican bill would also now allow people earning up to $500,000 a year to claim the full tax credit of $2,000 per child. an income of $500,000 up from $110,000 as it is now.
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so that's $75 more per child for a minimum-wage earner and $2,000 per child for someone making $50,000 a year. that's just not -- that's not fair. we hear from my friends on the republican side that tax cuts always pay for themselves. ask the people of kansas about that. when kansas cut taxes in 2012 and 2013, state revenues plummeted and kansas slashed university budgets, canceled highway projects, and had to borrow $1 billion to fund their public pension plan. schools around the state started going four days a week. teachers moved across the river from kansas city to kansas
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city, missouri. and from 2013 to mid2017, the kansas economy underperformed nearly all of its neighbors and the u.s. overall in economic growth, private sector, job creation, pass-through, business formation and labor force participation. finally corporations begged the legislature to raise their taxes, which they did over the governor's veto. that's kansas. take the whole country. bruce bartlett, ronald reagan's economic advisor, wrote a few weeks ago, quote, the tax reform act of 1986 reduced the top personal tax rate to just 28% from 50%, and the corporate tax rate to 34% from 46%. yet there was no increase in the rate of economic growth in subsequent years. and by 1990 the economy was in
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deep recession. tax cuts don't magically pay for themselves. i'd also like to highlight the republican hypocrisy on budget deficits. for many years republicans have used budget deficits as an excuse to block important pieces of legislation. in fact, even now we are in danger of stripping health insurance away from nine million children p because of difficulties finding offsets for reauthorization of the children's health insurance program. yet when it comes to the tax bill, only a handful of republicans have raised concerns about the fact that it would add $1.5 trillion to our national debt. we know from experience, as soon as the ink is dry on this bill, republicans will cite the rising national debt caused by this bill as a reason to cut key
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programs that millions of americans use every day, things like social security, medicare, medicaid, job training, education, infrastructure, and affordable housing. in fact, under their budget resolution, republicans adopted just two months ago, they laid out their plans for these reductions which would include over $1 trillion in medicaid cuts and $470 billion in medicare cuts. this bill would also trigger automatic cuts to some key programs. so in exchange for the bill's minimum tax cuts for some working families, starting in 2018 there would be an automatic 4% reduction in medicare payments. and a zeroing out of other key accounts. a zeroing out of the crime victims fund, farm price
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support programs, and the social services block grant that provides funds to meals on wheels and youth counseling and other important services for vulnerable people. there are many better uses for $1.5 trillion. president trump said he wanted to work with congress on a $1 trillion infrastructure package to rebuild our roads, our airports, our ports, build broadband across america. and i've said that i'd like to work with the president and my republican colleagues on a comprehensive bill. but this bill would make it impossible. this one would make it impossible to enact the $1 trillion infrastructure package the president promised and which we really heard nothing about.
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there are too many other flaws with the republican bill to highlight them all now, but i'd like to raise one that is particularly important to minnesotans. the bill before us today would eliminate the state and local tax deduction. it's an important deduction because when people deduct the taxes they pay to their state and local governments, first of all, it prevents the double taxation of their income. and it enables our local communities to make investments in public safety and education and child care and infrastructure. according to the tax policy center, 34% of minnesotans claim the state and local tax deduction, with an average deduction of almost $13,000. eliminating this deduction means a significant tax increase for those families and would make it harder for local communities in
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minnesota to raise revenue necessary to make vital investments. mr. president, i have heard outrage over the republican approach to tax reform from a very wide range of my constituents. i've heard from minnesota farmers about how it would undermine agricultural cooperatives which are really important in minnesota. i've heard from minnesota students who are concerned that it will force them out of graduate school. i've heard from minnesota home builders and developers who say that it could cut affordable housing construction in half. i've heard from realtors who say the bill could crater the real estate market. and i've heard from many ordinary americans who say that the bill is simply unfair. americans deserve a fairer,
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simpler tax code. not the debt-funded giveaway to the wealthy that republicans are trying to force through the senate today. that's why i oppose this bill, and i urge my colleagues to oppose it as well. thank you, mr. president. mr. scott: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from south carolina. mr. scott: thank you, mr. president. we've heard a lot about this bill over the last several hours and, frankly, several weeks. and we've had a lot of conversation over the last several months. but today, december 1, 2017, at 4:24 p.m., i hope we remember this, because i have finally heard the definition of fearmongering. someone once said that fear is an acronym for false evidence appearing real. what we've heard today,
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mr. president, is that because of the passage of this bill, the crime victims fund will be zeroed out. we heard that the social services block grants will go away. we heard that there will be cuts to medicaid. i want all the folks, mr. president, in this chamber to remember the time, so if they ever have to go back and find it -- december 1 at 4:24 p.m., when it was said. so here's my thought, mr. president. a few months in 2018 when your take-home pay has increased because the government is taking less of your hard-earned money, punishing you less and rewarding your success more, just remember to check and see if
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there's any money in the crime victims fund. mr. president, i would suggest that they check and see if there are any dollars in the social services block grant. and i hope they will check and see if there has been a cut to medicaid. because, mr. president, if you cannot find those cuts, it's one reason. they do not exist. i look forward to hopefully passing this bill today. i hope that we do. and i look forward to the american people taking the time to remember the exact time, the exact date that this was set. and then do the research necessary to draw your own conclusion. the first conclusion that will be easy to come to is that when you look at your pay stub and you see there's more money in it in 2018 than there was in 2017,
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just remember how it got there. it's not because of what we do, because there are some folks on this side of the potomac that believe that we actually have federal dollars. there are no federal dollars. every penny we spend in washington comes from a taxpayer somewhere. there are no federal dollars. there are simply taxpayer dollars arriving in washington to be used in some way. i'm only suggesting, mr. president, that the average american can spend their money in a way best for their family significantly better than we can. so i hope the good people of this country paying attention to this very important debate will be able to remember 4:24 p.m. so
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they can review the tape, review the video, your d.v.r., or whatever you call it now days and see for yourself what was said, go someplace online and figure out, at the end of 2018, middle of 2018, end of 2018, has something actually changed other than you have more money in your paycheck? i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from ohio is recognized. mr. portman: i ask that the
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quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that there now be 30 minutes equally divided for debate only with no amendments or motions in order and with the majority leader being recognized at the conclusion of that time. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i have just seen an airdropped list of provisions, there seems to be upwards of 30, and it sewer looks like the lob -- it sure looks like the lobbyists have been working overtime. they must have earned a holiday gift with this new bonanza of goodies. we still await a bill we're going to read, although i saw something that might actually be a bill so we are going to use this time so that colleagues can get into some of these questions
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about this array of treats that the lobbyists seem to have figured out how in the last few hours, or perhaps overnight, to carve out for their benefit. and to start our discussion for our 15 minutes, my friend and colleague, senator merkley, i believe, is going to start. mr. merkley: thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: i thank you, too, my senior colleague from oregon for his leadership in this debate on these important tax provisions. there is so much at stake here for the future of our society as we have been debating what we see as one provision after another that is designed to make the richest americans richer, while increasing the taxes on some 87 million middle-class americans. and then we get this nice little list. republicans have given to the lobby a list of 30 special
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interest provisions, circulated it, said this is what we're going to put in our manager's amendment for all of you. my colleague was speaking just a moment ago from south carolina that hasn't even been filed, life insurance provisions. what's that? maybe my colleague would like to come to the floor and explain it and explain why this is being circulated to lobbyists, to the swamp instead of to the members of the united states senate. 30 of these provisions, who knows what's all in this? isn't there any form of transparency or integrity left in this chamber in terms of legislative debate? have the american people had a chance to see this list? well, it's up online now, so the few who might be listening in might be able to see these titles. but this is not the way to do business in the u.s. senate. this is not the way to do the people's business. this is the way to do the swamp business. what happened to clearing the swamp? what happened to that?
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how is it that the richest americans are making out like bandits rather than the middle class doing well under this bill? why is that? why are there billions of dollars going to the richest americans by eliminating the alternative minimum tax? why are there hundreds of billions of dollars going in other provisions, including changing the upper limit tax brackets, including the pass-throughs for affluent, hyattsville successful l.l.c.'s? how about that? what is this list and why haven't the american people seen all the details about it? this type of chicanery here, chicanery here is just inappropriate. take and give the list to the members of the senate, not to k street. this close partnership between the republican majority and k
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street, filling them in, doing those special favors, and not even filling in the body here so that we can have a conversation about each of these items. this absolutely is a horrific way to do business. this is the way that the powerful and the privileged want business to be done, and my republican colleagues are working with them hand in hand instead of working for and by the american people. thank you, mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: mr. president, thank you. this is a big day because we're about to provide tax relief to millions of people in ohio and around the country. middle-class tax credits, a lower rate for people in every bracket. we had the opportunity in my home state of ohio to see people who are making $50,000 a year
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with two kids to have a 26% tax cut. that's important. my colleague just talked about he is concerned about the provisions that are before us. now, i will say that these have all been filed. that doesn't always happen around here, but it should. these are all made public. nothing is on this list that hasn't been filed publicly. just looking at it, the biggest one that my colleague talks about as being something to help rich people is the deduction for property taxes. it's capped at $10,000. but there is a deduction here for allowing people to deduct their property taxes, which is incredibly important for middle-class families around the country. some people on the other side want to go much further and provide much larger deductions and make those for state and local taxes. and by the way, their proposal
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would go primarily to upper income people, the proposal that they have, because that benefit goes primarily to those who are making higher incomes. and so how is it paid for? it's a $10,000 deduction for property tax. it's paid for exactly the provision that my colleague from oregon just complained about, because he said that he wanted to be sure that people had to pay an alternative minimum tax, and that alternative minimum tax is being used to pay for this middle-class tax cut we're talking about. so anyway, that's the biggest item here by far. the second biggest is for the pass-through companies. these are the smaller businesses in america. and it's to try to have some more parity between the pass-through companies than the so-called c corporations. again, something really important to small businesses in my home state of ohio and around the country. so i encourage him to take a look. all these have been filed. he can look at them now or he can go online, as any citizen
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can, and take a look at these things. you know, i will just say that at the end of the day, i know we had a difference of opinion on whether there should be tax cuts or not, but we think that tax relief is appropriate right now. we think that middle-class families that have not seen an increase in their wages, not just for the last few years but the last couple of decades need a little help. their expenses have not gone down. they have gone up. wages have been flat. that middle-class squeeze is addressed through these tax cuts on average about $2,375 for an ohio median income family. that's important. people who are working paycheck to paycheck will find this to be incredibly important. maybe they can put a little more money aside for retirement. maybe they can help with their health care costs which have gone up dramatically as wages have been flat. maybe they can help people to be able to buy that car or make
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that car payment if they already have that car. so these are real tax cuts. they are going to help middle-class families. again, i'm hoping my colleagues will look at some of these changes like the $10,000 deduction for property taxes paid for with the alternative minimum tax changes and help us to be able to make this legislation even more generous to folks in the middle class as they say they are for. with that, i would like to ask my colleague from south carolina who is with us who has been very involved in the child tax credit, ensuring that that's there, ensuring we have a reduction of the brackets, if he would have a few comments on those. mr. scott: thank you to my good friend from ohio. senator portman, may i see that list? i have been on the floor and i have been unable to get a copy of the list, but obviously you have been able to have your staff go online and get a copy of those lists. i think my good friend from
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oregon said his good friends who were lobbyists supplied him with a list. i'm not sure what the other side is missing, frankly. they had control of the house, the senate, and the white house for a couple of years, and they increased spending without doing anything about revenues other than trying to have a tax relief a few years ago of $630 billion of tax increases, and somehow they have missed the correlation between higher taxes and lower revenues. we have gotten it right that oftentimes lower taxes actually increases revenue, which has been proven from the 1920's and the 1960's and the 1980's. but it is good news that my friends on the left are finally thinking about the national debt. we had a couple hundred years of life in america that produced about $10 trillion of national debt. eight years after democrat
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leadership, we have a national debt of $20 trillion. so i find it a tad disingenuous that my friends on the left are going to counsel us about debt when, in fact, their record is so glaringly obvious. and when it comes to the benefits that this bill has for those folks who are working paycheck to paycheck, as the country saw its debt double in the last eight years, what they did not see double were their wages. as a matter of fact, their wages were stagnant. why? because when you take money out of the private sector economy and place it into the hands of the government, you do not grow the private sector economy. it's kind of a simple formula. so i will say, mr. president, that while wages were flat, the
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economy grew at an anemic 1.9%, even though they doubled the national debt from $10 trillion to $20 trillion, it is fascinate ing, fascinating that my friends on the left, looking for ways to create lobbyist loopholes, are on this floor lecturing anybody about debt. we, on the other hand, aren't thinking about lobbyists or our friends on the left. we're thinking about the american people. a hardworking group of individuals who find themselves tobacco often at the end of too many weeks with too little left in their pockets. we're not asking the american people to just believe us. what we are saying with great
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clarity is starting in paychecks in 2018, because of our tax cuts targeted towards the typical american family, you will see in your paycheck more of your hard-earned money. this is how we say there is proof in the pudding. it's simply take a look and see how much of that money is left. to my good friend from ohio, my friends on the other side of the aisle are starting to overcook my grits just a little bit. i don't mind having a vigorous debate on facts. but to sell fear, as i said a few minutes ago, fear being false evidence appearing real, is just turning the heat up on my grits. and i got to tell you, this
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leads to an unhealthy outcome for the american people because at the end of the day, the goal is not for us to be right and for them to be wrong. i don't think their goal is for them to be right and for us to be wrong. it's kind of simple. the goal is and always should be for the people that we represent to be better off because of our decisions here in washington. and i can tell you passing this tax reform y'all will leave the typical american family with 60%, 60% of a tax cut. i yield back. mr. portman: i thank my colleague and yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from michigan. ms. stabenow: thank you, mr. president. my friend from south carolina said the proof is in the
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pudding. well, i would suggest the proof is in your paycheck. that's what i would suggest. we had a chance yesterday with my amendment to absolutely guarantee that my friends on the other side of the aisle believe what they're saying, that people are going to get a minimum of $4,000 in increased wages. and i offered an amendment to simply say that in a couple of years from now, two years from now, 2020, we can make it 2021 or 2025. just pick a day when folks are going to get $4,000 in their wages, and we will put that in an amendment and pass it. the truth is that there is no guarantee in this bill. if my friends on the other side of the aisle believed that there would be $4,000 more in wages in middle-class families' pockets with this supply-side trickle-down economics tax cut, they would have voted for my amendment yesterday, which simply says that if there is a
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$4,000 increase in wages, the tax cut continues. if it doesn't, if they don't have $4,000 more in people's pockets, then the tax giveaway stops because all it means is it's adding to the national debt. so i'm all for anything that puts money in people's pockets. i have sponsored and voted for tax cuts for small businesses and manufacturers and farmers and families over the years in public service and here in the senate, and i want to do that. close tax loopholes that are taking jobs overseas. not increase new ones, which, by the way, this bill does. a new $4 billion tax loophole for oil companies. not closing tax loopholes, but if folks really believe this, if they really believe the numbers, let's lock it down. the proof is in your paycheck. that's what families in michigan are saying. you know, they want to know it's in their paycheck. they want to know it's a
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guarantee. because you know what? they are very skeptical because the truth is in the past, supplyside economics, trickle-down economics has not worked. you say it's going to trickle down. people in michigan are still waiting to catch it. it's not trickling down. we do have examples. what are where the tax cut in 1986, ten years after that wages of people in this country were flat. they did not go up. that's a fact. with president bill clinton and the effort to balance the budget in 1997, i was pleased, mr. president. i had only been in the house six months and came in and haded opportunity to vote to balance the budget which we did for the first time in 30 years. what happened during that process? well, actually taxes on wealthy people were raised a little bit to give the middle class tax cut and invest in education which i know our distinguished president cares deeply about and innovation.
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what happened? 22 million jobs were created. then we go into 2001, 2002. president george w. bush, big tax cut in 2001. sup ply side triple-down tax cut. we're told it's going to put money in people's pocket. it doesn't. 2003 it's going to put money in people's pocket. it doesn't. created huge debt. had wars paid for. and it went into the biggest recession we have seen outside the great depression with the financial crisis and eight million people lost their job. and people lost the equity in their homes, their pension values. it was terrible. so president obama comes in in 2001 and has to begin to dig out of the hole. that's a fact and began to dig out of that hole and put things back together for folks. and it was a big, big hole. and for a lot of families
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they're still feeling that hole. i know that's true in michigan. and so pardon me if they feel a little skeptical when they're hearing have i got a deal for you. let's try supply-side economics one more time and this time it really is going to create jobs and really is going to put money in your pocket. there is no proof of that. there's no proof of that. there's no proof that this grows the economy to be able to cover the costs of the tax giveaways. whether you look at supply-side economics, whether you look at new dynamic scoring, the new ways of scoring on things to make it look better, that didn't even show it. so what i would say, mr. president, the proof is in your paycheck for people that are watching. there's a lot going back and forth and it's really confusing because we hear one thing from one side and we hear the exact opposite in the other. i understand how confusing this is. but i would just ask this. why weren't my friends willing
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to support my amendment that would say if folks really get the $4,000 minimum amount being promised in increased wages, then -- if they don't, then the tax giveaway stops. why didn't they support that? a senator: would the gentlelady yield? i think my seat mate is making a very important point. of course people always wonder, well, is this kind of the democratic position or the republican position. mr. wyden: i want it clear that i believe tom bartold, the head of the joint committee on taxation which is our independent tax umpire, essentially agreed with you. i believe we asked him in committee whrl he thought that this huge -- whether he thought that this huge reduction in the tax rate would translate to $4,000 in the pockets of working families in michigan and oregon. is that my colleague's understanding? ms. stabenow: absolutely. we asked that question, as you
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know. and he indicated that was not the case. i continued to hear it over and over again. we've heard it from the president of of the united states, the secretary of the treasury. we've heard it from folks on the floor. we've seen it in charts just today on the floor again. and so that's great if that could really happen, mr. president, i would support that. it's never happened, and my colleagues will not support guaranteeing that it will happen. you know, this is about putting up or shutting up in my opinion. that's what we would say in michigan. it's about whether or not we're going to guarantee folks that this time around it's not just a sales job. it's actually going to end up if their pocket. i see my friend and colleague from pennsylvania who authored this amendment in committee. i was pleased to join him in committee. and he knows in pennsylvania like i do that we've gone through rough and tumble times and we have folks working too hard, not just one job but two
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jobs just trying to hold it together, haven't seen the pay raise they deserve and have worked for and want to know that this time around this isn't voodoo economics. it's actually going to increase their paycheck. and i will yield to my -- unless our distinguished leader wanted to -- mr. wyden: if my colleague would yield for a question. ms. stabenow: yes. mr. wyden: my understanding is that you and senator casey in particular have been out here and we're so glad to have our colleague from connecticut wondering when in the world we would actually get to see this legislation. ms. stabenow: right. mr. wyden: well, this pile of papers for all practical purposes is what we have been waiting for no days. ms. stabenow: i hope you're a speed reader. mr. wyden: i'm going to try to do some, but as far as i can tell, it sure looks like a lobbyist wish list. there are going to be a lot of folks happy on k street as they try to shop for the holidays because of the fees they put together working to get these
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changes into the republican proposal. so i appreciate my colleague giving me the opportunity to make sure that the public knows now that at this late hour we're finally getting after days the opportunities to see the bill that is actually the bill. ms. stabenow: before turning this to my friend and colleague from pennsylvania, i do want to mention one thing that i understand is in there. there may be things that i'm supportive in there. we don't know. we're trying to figure it out. but one thing i don't understand with all the talk about supporting workers and middle-class workers, there's a provision bill that says prohibit cash or gift cards as employee achievement awards. so if somebody works really hard and they're getting some kind of achievement award, does that mean they would not be allowed to get a bonus? i don't know why in the world we would be going after people's employee achievement awards. that doesn't sound like help for
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the middle class to me. i would now turn to my friend from pennsylvania and thank him for his leadership. mr. casey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i want to thank my colleague from michigan for focusing on the issue of wages because that was the promise. that if you give corporations a tax cut of more than $1.3 trillion with a t, all of a sudden you're going to see wages go up and workers are going to do a lot better. we know that hasn't happened in recent history. we'll see if the republican argument is correct. i wanted to put a few facts on the record in light of the debate this afternoon. many people in both parties have been referring to the joint committee on taxatio taxation, d j.c.t. documents. i'm looking at one of the documents right now to go through some data. this is dated november 27. it is d-17-54 for the joint
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committee on taxation. but here's some basic data. the joint committee on taxation, which is, of course, congress' official scorekeeper finds that in 2019, right away early in the implementation of the bill if this bill were to pass and the version we just got were to pass, the senate plan increases taxes on nearly 13 million families earning under $200,000 a year. that's what the document tells us. almost -- so that's the under $200,000 category, 13 million families just in 2019. now, if you break it down further in terms of folks making between, say, $50,000 and $75,000 and $100,000, almost 20% of americans earning between $50,000 and $75,000 a year will see a tax increase or a tax cut of less than $100.
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that works out to about nine bucks a month. so those individuals will have that tax consequence in 2019. so between $50,000 and $75,000 will see their tax increase or a tax cut of $100 or less. then you take the category $75,000 to $100,000 and about almost 17% of americans in that income category earning between $75,000 and $100,000 will see a tax increase or a tax cut of less than $9 a month. grand total between $50,000 and $100,000, 7.7 million americans either a tax increase or a tax cut of $100 or less. i don't call that tax cuts for the middle class. thank you, mr. president. i would yield the floor. mr. portman: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: mr. president, i wish i could convince my friend
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and she is my friend from michigan about the $4,000 per family that would come from the pro-growth policies here many of which she supports. she wants her businesses to be competitive and they're not now. it's an outrage that our companies have to use a tax code that puts the workers and those companies in a disadvantageous position every day. it's not just about inversions. it's not just about companies getting taken over and by the way, last year, three times as many american companies were taken over by foreign companies as the other way around. over the last 13 years, 4700 companies became foreign companies that would today would be u.s. companies if this tax bill had been in place. i mean, it's happening. they're taking their jobs and investment with them when they go overseas. and we have to fix that problem. it's been bipartisan. there's never been a partisan issue about that. and that's where a lot of that $4,000 comes from. it comes from the fact that you're going to have more investment, therefore, higher
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productivity and workers are going to have a chance to see higher wages. the congressional budget office did a study where they showed that 70 mrs of the benefit -- 70% of the benefit of lowering the business rate goes to workers in terms of higher wages and higher benefits. others say it's less than that. others say it's more than that. kevin has set who is the chairman of the economic vitzors says it's more than -- advisors says it's more than that. that's where the $4,000 comes from. i hope it's more than that but it's on top of the middle-class tax cuts that are very direct. in other words, that's not just saying we're going to have a better economy which i believe we will and i strongly believe we can improve a broken tax code. i think everybody does to make it better for american workers. but beyond that, you've got the immediate tax relief. that's what we've been talking about. this is the doubling of the standard deduction, doubling the child tax credit, lowering the tax rates. my friend from pennsylvania just talked about the fact that ten% of the people -- tben% of the people -- 20% of the people between $50,000 and $75,000, i'm
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not sure where the data is coming from but let's take it as true have a small tax cut or tax increase and 17% between $75,000 and $100,000 are in the category. that means 80% of people in that tax cut have a big tax cut. yeah, small tax cut, i don't know how many have a small tax cut and how many a tax increase, but the vast majority of middl middle-class families according to what my colleague just said from pennsylvania are going to get a big tax cut. i don't know what's wrong with that. that is the $2,300 and -- $2,375 on average for a median income family in ohio. and by the way, economists say that not only creates the opportunity for people to have a little better family budget through the direct tax cuts but also, of course, more jobs. here's something interesting. over the past couple days, a
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letter came in from 137 economists, many of them nationally known who support this legislation. this is what they say. economic growth will accelerate if this legislation passes leading to more jobs, higher wages and a better standard of living for the american people. they say there will be significantly more resources coming in to the federal government because of this, because of the growth. they think there will be a trillion dollars more revenue coming in because of this, because of the growth. they also think there will be additional jobs. the tax foundation says a million new jobs. so, yeah, i do believe $4,000 per family, but on top of that, i believe you're going to have a very direct benefit. i know you will because the statistics are there. my colleague from pennsylvania just acknowledged it that the vast majority of middle-class families are going to see a substantial tax cut. let me give you a number. for the family making 50 grand a year with two kids, it's a 36%
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tax cut on average. 36% tax cut. that matters. that helps people trying to make ends meet. so it's real both in terms of the direct tax cuts and in terms of the economic growth and the higher wages that are going to come with that. that's so important to all the families we represent. mr. president, we've had a good discussion here. i see my colleague from connecticut is here. he would like to speak and others i'm sure are going to want to speak. i would ask my colleague from oregon if he would be willing to have another unanimous consent that there be additional time equally divided. mr. wyden: i think 30 minutes is what we've been talking about. that's appropriate. mr. portman: okay. with that, mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent there now be 30 minutes equally divided for debate only with no amendments or motions in order and with the majority leader or his designee being recognized at the conclusion of that time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: i yield back. the presiding officer: the senator from connecticut. mr. murphy: thank you very much,
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mr. president. i've been paying attention to my social media feed and i've seen that senators on the republican side are starting to announce which way they're voting. i saw that corker is a no. collins is a yes. i don't know what they're a no or a yes on. how can you declare which way you're going to vote on a bill that you haven't read, on a bill that your constituents haven't seen? senator wyden just piled up what looked to be about six inches' worth of text in front of the senate floor. there is no possible way that any member of this body has read all of that. there is no way that in the time between it is released to senators and when we vote anyone, even from the really close states, are going to be able to get back to their constituents and ask them what they think about this piece of legislation.
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i mean, i've never -- i guess i would say i've never seen anything like t but we just went through it earlier this year in which we were given about an hour to look at a complete reform of one-sixth of the american economy, the health care system, and we are now being asked to vote this evening on a multitrillion-dollar reform of our tax code, and not a single u.s. senator will have read it. there's no way you would have read it. because i just saw how big it is. maybe republicans have read it, because they've seen it in these secret negotiations, but i guarantee you senate democrats will not have read it because we have been kept out of the loop on all of these negotiations designed to get to 50 votes, not to 60 votes, not to 70 votes, not a consensus product that
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could get republican and democratic support. i got here in 2007 when democrats took control of the house and the senate, and i remember during those two years all sorts of consternation from republicans about how bills were being rushed through the process. and so in reaction to that, when republicans took back control of the house, they instituted something called the 72-hour rule that you couldn't vote hon a piece of legislation unless members have been able to see it for 72 hours. we need a 72-minute rule. i don't think that we are going to be able to look at this legislation for more than 72 minutes, a multitrillion-dollar reform of the u.s. tax code, before we asked to vote on it. senator wyden and others have been waiving around this -- waving around this list of lobbyist-asked-for amendments
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that fills up an entire page. we're not going to get 82 minutes to look at -- 72 minutes to look at this, never mind have a single conversation with our constituents. it's dark out. the bill is going to be introduced on a friday night. we're going to vote on it overnight. this is supposed to be the world's greatest deliberative body. it's not supposed to work like this. and it is not a middle-class tax cut. i am neat going 0 deny that you there are some people -- i'm not going to denying that you there are some people in the lower class who are going to get their taxes lowered by this bill. but the middle-class tax cuts here are temporary. and they're very selective. they're selective in a way that very peculiarly seems to discriminate against democratic states. so states that are represented by democrats don't get as big a tax cut out of this because it's been crafted in a way that hurts states like mine that utilize the state and local tax
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deduction more than other states. that other states happen to be represented by republicans. it's not a middle-class tax cut because the middle-class tax cuts are just temporary. they go away after seven years. the corporate tax cuts, the inheritance tax cut for billionaires, those are permanent. those go through the full ten-year time frame. but middle-class families don't get permanence. after seven years, six out of ten middle-class families will have their taxes go up, not down. and that seven-year time frame is an important one because, by repealing the individual mandate, premiums go up by 10% a year. republicans have been screaming about premiums going up, a and they decided intentionally to put a provision in this bill that will guarantee that premiums will continuing to up at 10% a year. guess what happens on year seven?
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year seven is when that 10% increase year by year compounds such that premiums are doubled. so in year seven -- this is a great deal if you are a middle-class taxpayer -- your tax cut to the extent it exists in this bill disappears and your health care premium is doubled. what it is is a big tax cut for the wealthy. i am a he stealing senator bennet's chart here, but he did it really well, right. you have 572,000 taxpayers, the richest 500,000 americans, getting $34 billion in tax cuts. and then you have 90 million taxpayers who are making under $50,000 a year getting $14 billion in tax cuts. now, i get it that, you know, if you're going to structure a tax cut that covers everybody, naturally people who make more are get going to get more. but why does it make sense to borrow $34 billion to help the wealthiest 500,000 americans? and this doesn't even count the
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inheritance tax which is going to help an even smaller percentage of those people even more. and, come on this idea that you can deficit-finance a tax cut for the rich and it'll just trickle down and magically result in economic growth? that is just not true. it's a fiction. we have decades of economic experience to tell you that when you cut taxes for the rich, it does not magically result in enough economic growth to make up for the deficit, especially deficits that are going to be in the neighborhood of $2 trillion. you might as well claim that unilateral -- that uniaccordance are real, if you want to believe that tupac is still alive, go for it. it's a fiction. it's a fantasis -- it's a fantae
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beginning. so i think we should take our time, read the bill, have a real conversation about what we are about to do. we could do a -- if our goal was to provide a middle-class tax cut, then we could do a much better job if we worked together. this is not a middle-class tax cut for everybody. and after seven year, the majority of member poo emin the middle -- the majority of people in the middle class lose that tax cut. there is no reason to borrow this much money for the richest 500,000 americans. as a senator with two young kids, i just don't know why you'd ask my kids and so maniers to pay back loans necessary to deliver this tax cut, especially when it isn't going to magically result in the kind of economic growth that trickle-down economists have claimed for years and years.
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it's not impossible to get a bipartisan tax bill. i know my republican friends claim, as they did on health care, that there's no good will on the democratic side to try to craft a bipartisan proposal. the tragedy is that you didn't even try. there was no attempt to try to find common ground here, just like there was no attempt to try to find common ground on health care -- until the bill had failed, and i credit senator alexander and senator murray for trying to find that common ground, after the health care bill failed. but the order is switched. try to find common ground first, and if that fails, do it in a partisan fashion, instead of doing it in a partisan fashion and when that table, try to find -- that fails, try to find common ground. that is really bad bill. i think because i will not have
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read it by the time that i'm forced to vote on it and neither will any of the other 99 members of this body. i yield the floor. mr. wyden: will the senator yield for a question before he yields? a senator: i would. mr. wyden: i am curious. i am headed home to town hall meetings over the weekend in oregon. i am the ranking member on the committee, the committee that historically -- as storied committee. bill bradley tells this story about how he flew all over the country to meet with republicans to talk about how you could find common ground to deal with tax reform. this time we haven't been able to get the majority to even walk down the corridor in an effort to try to get a bipartisan bill. as i've told my colleague, i've written two of them. so my question to my friend is,
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because i know he spends a lot of time, how do you think people in connecticut are going to react when you have your community meetings to the idea that we had maybe an hour or so to really try to make our way through the bill that is actually the bill, the biggest tax bill in 31 years that you will have to, because i know my colleague knows very hard to be straightforward with his constituents, tell them, i just got it with insufficient time to get into it? how are they going to react to that? mr. murphy: i don't want to be too heavy about this, but everybody shouldn't assume that the way in which we run our country just continues on forever. democracy is unnatural. we don't run other parts of our
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lives by democratic vote. we decided to run our country in a way that allows everybody to participate. and you know, let's be honest, people have been asking some questions recently about the health of our democracy and maybe that was a big part of the subtext of the 2016 election. this doesn't help win people's faith back in the democratic experiment. when they see this casualness afforded to a debate that affects millions of americans. it hurts us all when a bill this big, this important, gets rammed through under the cover of night. it starts to atrophy people's faith in the entire way we go about running our government. i understand that congress is not that popular. it is hard to get less popular than we are today. but if we ever want to start to climb tower way back to legitimacy, then we have to --
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to climb our way back to legitimacy, then we have to trust the people to be part of the process of draft and passing legislation rather than being afraid of the people and burying a bill in the dead of the night, as is happening now. i'd yield back. the presiding officer: who yields time? the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: mr. president, i understand we now have a new bill. i was looking at senator wyden hold up that new bill. i got a sheet that looked like it came from "k" street that gave us a list of changes that were -- would be included in the managers' package. i looked at the list.
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somewhere around 50 or 60 new provisions were on that list. many of those were not bills that had been filed. so we had no idea what's going to be included in it. none of those issues -- in fact,ing in no this bill has been -- in fact, nothing in this bill has been subject to an open hearing in the finance committee. now we're going to be asked, i understand, maybe later tonight to vote on these changes and, quite frankly, i don't no he what those thanks are and -- what those changes are and i'm not going to have an opportunity to go over those with my constituents. that's wrong. that's not the process we use to change the tax code of this country, a major tax reform bill. that's an outrageous process, to say that we're going to vote on a new bill without an opportunity to understand it, without any hearings, without an opportunity for constituents to give their views on it. and i must tell you, i find that very offensive.
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i want to talk about one provision in particular, and i hope we'll have a chance to do something about it during the amendment process. but, as i understand it, the revised provisions in regards to state and local tax deduction still restrict what taxpayers can deduct on their federal tax returns in regards to state and local taxes that they've paid. now, i admit, this could have been modified, but what i understand is the modification is that taxpayers will be able to deduct up to $10,000 of property taxes but will not be able to deduct any of their state taxes, whether they're income taxes or sales taxes, in regards to the federal taxes. in my state, we have county income taxes that will not be deductible, if i understand correctly, under the proposal
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we'll be voting on. if that's in fact correct, that's absolutely wrong. i want to tell you why. many of us spent years in the state legislature. our distinguished presiding officer was governor of his state. we respect state and local governments. it's the same taxpayers that pay the taxes to the counties, to the state, and to the federal government. we believe in federalism. our nation was founded on federalism. i was proud of my record as speaker of the maryland house of delegates and working on a federalism task force set up by president reagan to look at the proper way to respect the rights of the states and local governments. and now we're saying that we're not going to respect their ability to finance their operations. i say that because we're going to tax the tax.
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we're not going to respect that the same taxpayers paying the state of maryland's taxes or state of tennessee's taxes and are paying maryland taxes. that's wrong. that is an affront i believe to the constitution of this country. but it has an impact. it's going to be much, much more difficult for our states to be able to raise the revenues they need to support our schools, for public safety, for health. all those services are going to be much more difficult for our states to be able to finance because of this change that is included in the senate bill. it's going to be more difficult for local governments. the tax on property taxes is real and will affect local government's ability to raise property taxes. but in maryland and other states, our local governments have other sources, including
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income taxes, that no longer are going to be deductible. that's going to affect my state's ability to adequately fund public services, whether it is education, whether it's transportation, whether it's health care. all that's going to be negatively impacted, and it's wrong. i'll give you a number, mr. president, because i know the number in maryland. almost 50% of maryland taxpayers deduct state and local taxes as an itemized deduction. they are going to be disadvantaged by the provision that's included in the senate bill. and it is wrong. also has unintended consequences but it's going to have other consequences. later i'll come back and speak on some of these other issues, but i'll yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: mr. president, again, we've had some
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interesting dialogue back and forth, and earlier my colleague from connecticut was talking about how this isn't real middle-class tax relief. and then he lamented the fact that because of the arcane budget rules we have around here, after ten years all these great tax cuts expire. you kind of have it both ways there and i don't think you can do that, which is there aren't real tax cuts but then when they expire it's a great shame because they're great tax cuts. here's the reality. there are significant tax cuts here for the middle class. this legislation doubles the standard deduction probably about two-thirds of the people i'm talking to tonight already take the standard deduction. now about 95% of people will take it and everybody will take it will be able instead of getting $12,000 a family, $24,000 a family. greatly expanding the zero tax bracket. that means a lot to people i represent who are living
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paycheck to paycheck having a tough time making ends meet. also as a result of this and the other tax relief, about three million americans who now pay income tax are going to fall off the tax rolls and no longer going to have income tax liability. that's really meaningful to people. it also doubles the child tax credit. we talked a little about that today. it increases the refundability a little. but importantly, it helps to ensure that families have the ability to help make ends meet when they're trying to raise kids, the most important thing you can do. and it lowers tax rates. and that combination means that you have the kind of tax relief we're talking about. for a family making $50,000 a year, two kids, 36% tax cut. a family making $85,000 a year, two kids, 20% tax cut. if you make $165,000 a year, two kids, you get an 8% tax cut. the benefit is focused more on


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